|Cancer Diet: Feasting on the Four Food Groups - A Mesothelioma Patient's Guide to Nutrition
At some point during our childhood we have all been told to eat our vegetables. Forcing down tasteless green beans and brussels sprouts were supposed to make us taller and stronger. Well, so it is for mesothelioma patients. Diet is often an overlooked subject for cancer patients, but eating the right nutritional foods for strength and energy is just as important as taking the proper medication.
Mesothelioma patients undergoing treatment must follow a special cancer diet devised by their nutritionists. Cancer diets involve eating the correct amounts of protein and calories as well as drinking the right amount of water to keep the ailing body replenished and energized. The body needs plenty of nourishment when it is going through chemotherapy or even when the patient is taking certain medications.
Doctors and nutritionists may also recommend a special cancer diet because many mesothelioma patients tend to lose their appetites due to worry over their condition. Also, those who are undergoing treatment may choose not to eat because of the unpleasant side effects they may experience. Chemotherapy, for example, and even some particular medications may cause an imbalance of nutrients that must be corrected in order to keep the body as strong as possible and to keep the patient from losing an excessive amount of weight. Other side effects of mesothelioma treatment include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, a change in the sense of smell or taste, and/or constipation.
Below are some of the important nutrients patients are encouraged to include in their mesothelioma diet:
• Protein is important for any cancer patient
because it helps repair tissue damaged by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Protein also helps maintain a strong and healthy immune system, lowering a mesothelioma patient’s risk of infection after aggressive cancer treatments. The National Cancer Institute recommends increasing protein in a cancer diet with cheese, milk, ice cream, yoghurt, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, meats and fish.
• Fats are an essential part of the cancer diet because they supply the body with the necessary energy it needs while undergoing treatment. The amount of fats (meaning the number of calories) a cancer diet should consist of is dependent on a mesothelioma patient’s age and body size. The National Cancer Institute recommends increasing caloric intake with such foods as butter, milk, cheese, honey, sugar, granola and dried fruits.
• Water is another essential element of the cancer diet. Without a substantial amount of water, the body will dehydrate. It is important that anyone undergoing cancer treatment receive enough water to keep their bodies hydrated and replenished.
The details of every patient’s mesothelioma diet will vary. Some patients will need to incorporate more fat into their diets, while others may need more protein. It is important that patients devise a cancer diet under the guidance of their doctor and nutritionist to ensure that they receive the proper amount of nutrients to improve their quality of life.
About the Author
Maggie Kay is a freelance writer from Montreal and is the head researcher and content manager of Mesothelioma Attorney Advice Center (www.maacenter.org).